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ACTE (Association of Corporate Travel Executives) has asked for extra time on a new law that affects all business travellers visiting Belgium for more than five days. The country announced its new filing process for foreign workers, Limosa, on 26 March 2007 and made it penal law just six days later, on 1 April.
In a bid to reduce illegal employment in Belgium, Limosa requires that companies or self-employed business travellers declare the nature of their work in the country, the origin of the business and other financial disclosures. Each employee that visits without a Limosa receipt could incur a $8,000 (”4,000) fine or up to two years in prison for their company.
Although the law is already in place, ACTE has asked that the date for penalisation be extended to 15 May 2007, to allow the world to fully understand the new rules. ”Our request to Belgium is twofold,” an ACTE spokesperson told ABTN, adding: ”By delaying the deadline it will ease questions of liability and also give the world a chance to find out more about it.
”ACTE wants to set up an international webcast so people can send in their questions. The more general of these will be covered in one hit over the internet and the more specific Limosa can answer at its leisure.
”As it stands the world simply does not know enough about it and there is a great deal of confusion as human resource and administration departments are being told about it, while travel managers are often left in the dark. ACTE is not against the law itself, but we”d like to prevent companies changing their business or meetings process because of a rule they don”t understand.”
Even a Limosa spokesman admitted to ABTN that the notice period was ”crazy,” as although the law had been approved back in December 2006 the company was unable to tell the world about it until six days before it became effective. However, the spokesperson did say that it is ”highly unlikely that anyone will be fined as the law is so new. Those without the Limosa receipt can call their company and arrange for their application to be completed ” it only takes 15 minutes.”
Getting a Limosa receipt for working in Belgium is a simple enough process when looking at its website, although this is a process that even Google has trouble with. Visit www.limosa.be to fill in the online form.